Quince SF Review

Concluding the final meal of this particular SF trip, my party arrived at Quince. I had high hopes for this meal given the great one I had at TFL last night. One thing I was thankful for was that Quince isn’t very stuffy. Long story short, my significant other and I didn’t get a chance to change into our business casual attires but Quince gracefully allowed us to dine there with our jeans and t-shirt! The staff didn’t bat an eye throughout the night and treated us with tremendous enthusiasm and genuine care.

So how does the food fare?

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Meyer Lemon with Sage

The bartender/mixologist whipped up some non-alcoholic pairings for us this evening. We liked these much more so than what we had at TFL. They were bright and refreshing in general giving us that much needed palate cleansing throughout the night.

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Amuse Bouche 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. I don’t remember what they were since I never intended to write an extensive review. However, this series of amuse bouche ranged from good to great! DELISHHH!

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Fresh produce of the day! Like Manresa, Quince partners with a local organic farm (Fresh Run Farm) so they get the best and freshest possible produce on the day of service.

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The first course is presented on an iPad. :scream:
Apparently lots of people ask the restaurant about the origins of black truffle and how they’re found so Quince made a course using an iPad as a plate with a video of either a pig or dog hunting for black truffles.

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Course #1: “Black Diamond” | black truffle croquette with salt roasted celeriac and roasted porcini
Great first bite with hint of fragrant truffle. The creamy interior is filled with celeriac and bits of roasted porcini.

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Mint & Calabrian Chile Tonic

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Course #2: Tsar Nicoulai Caviar Trio

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Very nice presentation! 3 distinct caviar dishes.

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Course 2A: Zucchini “pasta” with some unknown but amazing sauce - Highlight

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Course 2B: Smoked Sturgeon - Highlight
Intensely smokey but didn’t detract from the oceany brininess of the caviar

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Course 2C: Brioche
A relatively classic pairing of buttery brioche and caviar along with some creme fraiche for much needed acidity

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Course #3: Artichoke, Monterey Bay Squid, Blood Orange, Farro
Another great dish. Quince is knocking it out of the park!

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Course 3A: Squid ink Prawn chip with squid, artichoke mousse, and Espelette pepper
Think of your favorite MSG laden prawn chip on steroids. Now refine it and top it off with a few creamy dots of artichoke mousse and flavorful and tender squid.

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Coures 3B: Squid on artichoke mousse with farro
More of the aforementioned goodies in quantity so you may reinforce the flavors with the chip or just eating them by themselves. YUMMM.

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At this point, we were invited to the kitchen for a tour! We usually have to ask the restaurant if we can have a tour of the kitchen upon finishing our meal so maybe they read my mind?

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These cucumber rose water with tonic were already waiting for us in the kitchen!

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Next up, house made sourdough and hollow bread served with buffalo milk butter. Close to perfection? I wish I can get more of those reference brioche from TFL though.

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What could it be?

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Course #4: Asparagus, crawfish, nasturtium, wild ramp
Another highlight of the night. A mild asparagus soup is poured over a scrumptious crawfish gelée. Wowzers! The sweetness of the asparagus was accentuated when the briny gelée slowly dissolves. An unusual (for me anyway), but great combination of flavors!

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Winter citrus - Kirhu mandarin, kumquat, blood orange with cinnamon & club soda

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Course #5: Lobster mousse stuffed garganelli, lobster, black cabbage, black trumpet mushroom, black truffle - Best dish of the night!

Definitely my favorite pasta and lobster dish ever. Just give me a big plate of this and call it a day! Biting into the perfectly al dente garganelli will surprise you with a stuffed intensely lobster-y lobster mousse. It’s odd since a mousse typically doesn’t have any give when you bite into them but not this mousse with a snappy texture not far from a well cooked lobster! The truffle and trumpet mushroom added another dimension to the dish with different shades of earthy goodness. :yum:

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Course #6: Quince’s version of SF bread bowl | Monterey Bay Abalone, green garlic, lardo, plankton - Highlight
The light abalone chowder tastes of the ocean enhanced by fragrant mild garlicky flavor from the green garlic. Lardo was doing its thing adding richness and depth. Can I get a bigger bowl please?

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At first, I was wondering if I’m only eating black truffle for the next course…

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But have no fear, smoked squab agnolottini were served tableside

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Course 7A: Agnolottini, Paine Farm Squab, broccoli di cicco, Perigord Truffle - Highlight
Umm…Second favorite pasta ever behind the lobster one? Needless to say, the agnolottini was cooked to perfection. Biting into the slightly chewy al dente pasta gave way to a smokey and meaty squab. The utilization of truffle again added complexity to the dish in avoiding palate fatigue.

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Course 7B: Some kind of pork tortelini served in a pasta rolling pin - Highlight
Hmm…third best pasta ever? Quince really knows their pasta don’t they?!

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Quince invited us to the kitchen for the final savory course. A table was set up and drinks were sitting there waiting for our arrival! Maybe they wanted to impress us since we told them about our French Laundry experience from the night before?

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Chilled Earl Grey tea with figs and cherry

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Busy busy busy. I’ve dined at chef’s tables before but never have I actually eaten INSIDE the kitchen right next to all the different stations. It was an eye opening experience for sure!

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Course #8: A4 Kagoshima Wagyu, Tibetan purple wheat berry, black garlic, romanesco - Highlight
A4 was chosen in place of A5 because it’s meatier and I certainly agree! I like it better than the A5 which can be a little too rich at times. The grains were cooked “al dente” and served as an excellent side to reset our palate alongside some garden salad (shown later).

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A line cook served this to us. As we were finishing up the slice of wagyu, we were asked “if we are opposed to having ANOTHER slice of Wagyu.” Umm…ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! It’s a no brainer…we’ll take the free refill!

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Garden salad with vinaigrette made from the Wagyu beef to go along with our beef. Decadent! The Chef de Cusine served the vinaigrette tableside and chatted with us for a bit before he began expediting again. Nice lad!

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Course #8: Apple granita, coconut mousse, oxalis, Kaffir lime
Excellent palate cleanser with brightness from the acidic green apple granita and hint of lime countered by mild sweetness of the dotted coconut mousse.

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Course #9: Chiboust, passion fruit, andoa chocolate, gold

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Course #10: Some sort of souffle-ish cake with a bunch of stuff I forgot -.-

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Mignardises…a variety of confections

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Lemon custard tart with meringue and Bouchon truffles

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Mint and watermelon lollipop

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Don’t remember what they were…

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MOREEE confections…

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Don’t remember what the were…

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Don’t remember what the were…


In case you couldn’t, this meal was SPECTACULAR. There were highlights throughout the meal. HIGHLY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Another shout out to Quince’s staff for their exemplary service and hospitality. You can feel the warmth and that they were genuinely happy to be there. Upon leaving, our server Milton, walked us out of the restaurant and handed us each a cup of dark, rich, and lusciously velvety hot chocolate for our cold night walk back to our Airbnb. Lastly, he asked that we try out Benu the next time we visit SF again.

I really can’t wait to return to Quince!

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Hope you were able to fit in a “Mission Burrito.”

Image result for mission burrito

Or some of these wonderful places. I think visitors miss a lot if they only focus on this type of food.

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Very nice pictures!

When were you there? I was wondering if they still do the iPad “dish;” they had gotten some mixed reactions to it!

I know they have a beast of a pastry chef, but unfortunately, the service was so off-putting last time I tried to dine there that I haven’t been back. There was either some grave misunderstanding about who we were or, the more likely scenario in my opinion, someone more “important” was there but they handled it very poorly and the whole thing left a very bad taste in our mouths. My last actual meal there was 2012-2013 I think but I don’t remember anything about the food other than I had a good cocktail.

Glad to hear you had the opposite experience! I know others have raved about their service so I’m not sure why we were treated so weirdly last year.

Last time after Saison, we ate a lengua burrito each from El Farrolito. But in part because Saison’s meal was over quite quickly.

I do think La Ciccia, La Taqueria, Swan Oyster, etc. some Chinatown and local pasta places are the kind of gems with local charm that I prefer nowadays (apart from Saison, Avery, and Californios).

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We used to live in Noe Valley when locals truly had no idea where it was and now it’s hipster heaven. We ate in the Mission regularly when friends thought we were taking our lives in our hands :slight_smile: La Cumbre was our burrito place of choice.

I’d be interested to know what the demographic is for the la-dee-dah places. As in how many are visitors vs. locals. It’s such a great food city that I’d hate for anyone to limit themselves to the big ticket places. Hmm, perhaps this should be a thread of its own :slight_smile:

Brad thanks as usual for your contribution.

I tend to go to places that I don’t really get in LA so burrito didn’t make my list. On this particular trip, besides TFL and Quince, we went to Great China in Berkeley for nostalgic reasons since I used to frequent it when I attended UC Berkeley, B Patisserie, Craftsman and Wolves, and rounding it off with Swan Oyster Depot.

Looking forward to those write ups.

I guess I never knew that LA has “Mission” burritos. Shame on me.

This particular trip was from last February. I’m sorry to hear about your experience! Maybe things have improved since? After all, my meal happened 4-5 years after yours.

I don’t think LA has “Mission” burritos but we do have tons of specialty shops everywhere here!

Out of curiousity,

I don’t think Quince the last couple years is at all the same restaurant that it was in 2012-2013. I was there last year and left with pretty much the same impression as moonboy403. The three pasta dishes I had there were probably the best three I’ve ever had in my life.

In fact I was in Italy for 2.5 weeks earlier this year and although I ate a lot of really good food, I didn’t have any pasta dishes as good as Quince’s.

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I’ve been to Quince twice, first time was maybe couple back when they were at two stars, and again when they were at three. To be fair we were a larger party in the private room which was unfortunately a bit too cramped and stuffy and I believe there was a minimum charge for it with a different menu. Did the wine pairing on both occasions and only found them to be just enjoyable, but not spectacular nor out of the box.

Nothing wrong with the service overall, but to me three stars is overly generous and I would be comfortable with them at two. I do want to eventually return and just stay in the main dining room to see if that last visit was just a bit of a bad fluke. In terms of satisfaction level though, I would personally just pick Californios to return to as the setting is a bit more intimate and the service a lot more personable, or return to Benu if we are comparing 3 stars.

For high end pasta, other than La Ciccia (which is a different category in itself), Sorrel is the best for me right now (they are new, right now more of an upscale neighborhood place, and not everyone likes them because of differing expectations), and Chef owner Alexander Hong has cooked at Quince and Jean Georges NY before, and then spent 3 years doing a pop up before moving to the current brick and mortar. Plus at Sorrel you can order pastas a la carte, and the value for returning multiple visits for the pastas alone is much higher for me than going to Quince just to have the pasta courses.

We were hoping to eat there a couple of months ago when we were in the city. Glad you liked it. Next time.

The techniques used at Benu on some of the dishes were definitely at another level even though they’re not in-your-face about it but Quince’s flavor profiles were much more unique to me. Benu, however, perfected and elevated many flavors that I grew up with.

Quince will temporarily run their restaurant at Fresh Run Farm and McEvoy Ranch. Perhaps it’ll be an experience like that of Blue Hill at Stonebarns.

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Funny that they’re switching back and forth between the two locations.

I think Quince works with both places for their produce.

Yeah, but moving back and forth seems like a lot of extra work.

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Agreed. They’re 23 miles apart.

This makes more sense.